Food & Drink

Bartesian raises $20m and adds Mila Kunis to board

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Beam Suntory-backed cocktail machine Bartesian has secured US$20 million in funding and appointed actor Mila Kunis to its board of advisors.

Bartesian machine

Bartesian offers a library of more than 40 cocktails

Chicago-headquartered Bartesian raised the money through a Series A round of funding, led by venture capital firm Cleveland Avenue.

The US$20m investment will help the cocktail maker grow both in the US and globally, boost production and expand its team. Kunis will help to provide guidance on brand strategy and growth.

Founded by former bartender Ryan Close, Bartesian was developed in 2014 following a Kickstarter campaign that raised US$250,000. Ahead of its release, the product received an undisclosed investment from Jim Beam owner Beam Suntory in 2016.

Bartesian offers more than 40 different cocktails in several ‘simple’ steps, using recyclable flavour capsules that contain ‘real’ juices, ‘natural’ extracts and bitters. The machine also allows customers to use their own spirits.

Bartesian taps into the consumer trends for convenient formats and the desire for ‘authentic, cocktail experiences’ at home.

‘Time to scale up’

Close, CEO of Bartesian, said: “We set out to bring the luxury cocktail lounge experience inside the home, offering high-quality, customised cocktails with convenience and style – and now it is time to scale up to meet the growing demand and enter new markets.

“This capital infusion will fuel our momentum with the production and innovation capabilities to reach more people around the world with new cocktails and offerings.”

Bartesian reported a 975% increase in revenue in 2020. The company’s subscriber base has grown by more than 30 times, compared to March 2020. The firm said it sold out completely during most of 2020.

“The global market size for ready-to-drink cocktails is valued at over US$1.6 billion,” said Keith Kravcik, chief financial officer and chief investment officer, Cleveland Avenue.

“Bartesian’s innovative approach to high-quality cocktails is clearly resonating with consumers, tapping into the growing interest in premium beverages, and we believe the company is poised to continue its market-leading position for years to come.”

Furthermore, Bartesian plans to grow its library of cocktails, explore collaborations, and expand commercial partnerships with stadiums and arenas.

The appointment of Kunis is not the actor’s first venture in the drinks industry. Kunis has starred in a number of advertisements for Jim Beam Bourbon as the brand’s global partner.

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